Liberal Immigration Plan: Canada To Welcome 340,000 Newcomers A Year By 2020

November 3, 2017

By Huffington Post |

The federal government sought Wednesday to introduce more stability into Canada’s immigration system by introducing a plan that sets out a gradual rise in admissions over the next three years.

By 2020, Canada will see an increase of 13 per cent in overall immigration numbers, with the vast majority coming under economic programs designed to address skills shortages and gaps in the labour market as the population ages and the birth rate declines.

At 340,000 people, the increase by 2020 represents the highest intake since before the First World War, though it stops short of the 450,000 target suggested by the government’s economic advisory council in a report last year.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the plan he unveiled Wednesday is the right mix for Canada, for now. The gradual increase over time was designed so the system could adjust, he said.

“Bringing a newcomer to Canada is half of the job; we have to make sure people are being given the tools they need to succeed once they get here,” Hussen told a news conference in Toronto.

“We have to make sure we have the absorptive capacity, we have to make sure that our partners on the ground with the settlement and integration processes that they engage in every day have the tools necessary so they can plan ahead, so they can adjust to the numbers.”

The switch to a longer-term planning approach marks a major pivot for the federal government, which has for decades relied on setting only annual targets. The last time there was a multi-year approach was in the 1980s and it was shelved after a recession.

Hussen’s predecessor, John McCallum, had suggested last year the government was contemplating a switch and consultations on the idea have been ongoing ever since.

The Conference Board of Canada — among the groups advocating for a multi-year plan — welcomed the move.

“Canada’s decision to increase immigration will help sustain long-term economic growth in light of its rapidly aging population and low birth rate,” senior vice president Craig Alexander said in a statement.

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